Sous Vide Buffalo Chicken Wings Recipe

[Photographs: Joel Russo]

Can Buffalo wings be made even better when cooked sous vide first? We think so. The low-and-slow cook in a hot water bath makes the meat incredibly tender and juicy without drying it out; frying it afterwards sizzles the skin so that it’s golden and crispy. After that, it takes just a toss in the classic sauce of Frank’s Red Hot and butter.

Why It Works

  • Cooking the wings sous vide tenderizes the meat and melts the collagen-rich connective tissue without drying it out.
  • This recipe lets you choose the temperature and time to get exactly the results you want.
  • Air-drying the wings before frying them ensures they crisp up properly.
  • Yield:Serves 4 to 8
  • Active time:1 hour
  • Total time:3 hours plus 8 hours drying time
  • Ingredients

    • 4 pounds (1.8kg) chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats, wingtips removed and saved for stock or discarded
    • Kosher salt
    • 8 tablespoons (1 stick; 110g) unsalted butter
    • 1 cup (235ml) Frank’s RedHot Sauce
    • 3 quarts (3 liters) peanut or canola oil
    • Blue cheese dressing, for serving
    • Celery sticks, for serving


    1. 1.

      Set Up the Immersion Circulator: Set up an immersion circulator and preheat the water bath to either 160°F (71°C) if you want fall-off-the-bone wings or 165°F (74°C) if you want juicy and tender wings that still retain some springiness.

    2. 2.

      Meanwhile, season wings all over with salt. Place wings in zipper-lock bags (you may need multiple bags to easily hold all the wings). Alternatively, slide wingsinto vacuum bags and seal according to vacuum sealer-manufacturer’s instructions. If using zipper-lock bags, seal using the water-displacement method. Add bagged wings to immersion circulator and cook for 2 hours if cooking at 160°F or 1 hour if cooking at 165°F.

    3. 3.

      Arrange wire racks on rimmed baking sheets. Remove wings from bags and pat dry; discard juices. Arrange wings on the wire racks and refrigerate, uncovered, for 8 hours or up to 2 days.

    4. 4.

      When ready to serve, in a small saucepan, combine butter and Frank’s and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted. Transfer to a large bowl.

    5. 5.

      Meanwhile, in a wok or Dutch oven, heat oil to 400°F (205°C). Working in small batches, carefully add chicken and cook, stirring and flipping occasionally while adjusting heat to maintain a temperature of 375 to 400°F (190 to 205°C) until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per batch. Using a spider or slotted spoon, transfer wings to paper towels to drain. When all the wings have been fried, transfer to bowl with sauce, toss to coat, and serve with blue cheese dressing and celery.

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